In Passing New Anti-Gun Laws, New York Should Have Remembered Failures Of Anti-Tobacco Laws


The State of New York is making headlines as the first state in America to pass new gun control laws after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Connecticut. These laws seem calculated to ban guns not through outright prohibition but through regulatory attrition.

New Yorkers, among other things, will now have to get a background check for ammunition purchases, and large purchases will be reported to state authorities.

This is patently ridiculous and unworkable legislation, and New York lawmakers ought to know better given the failure of their similar attempts to outlaw tobacco through regulation. New York has unmercifully high taxes on cigarettes, yet according to a recent Tax Foundation study no less than 60% of cigarettes in New York are bootlegged to avoid the state’s taxes and regulations.

How soon will gun-owning New Yorkers be bootlegging their ammo and other guns/supplies to avoid these new laws?

All these sort of laws do is breed contempt for the law by encouraging normally law-abiding citizens to break laws they see, rightly in this instance, as being unjust.

What will be interesting it to see the courts handle these new laws. The Supreme Court has upheld the 2nd amendment as an individual right which cannot be infringed by the federal government or the states. But how will the courts rule on the de facto prohibition of guns through regulation?

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Kevin Flanagan

    The same people who got rich off of the anti-tobacco legislation hope to profit from a gun ban.

    • two_amber_lamps

      They sure made a lot of firearms mfgrs a lot of money in a short while…

      Bamster’s the best gun salesman EVER!

  • flamemeister

    As in the case with nascent totalitarian states, nearly every aspect of life in the U.S. has become politicized. The facts of history, rational consideration of problems, and consideration of highly probable consequences are no longer matters for consideration. All of this is trumped by personal political concerns. The people are led by grasping corpse-gray mediocrities. Reason is gone and has left us in a bad dream.

    • HG

      Let’s all hope that the criminals get Cuomo’s message and change their law-breaking ways.

      • flamemeister

        There should be a program where criminals are assigned to live with the families of Democrat politicians. The questions are:

        1. Would they be transformed by being exposed to such radiant virtue?
        2. Would they learn new tricks of the criminal trades?
        3. Would they be scared straight?

  • Spartacus

    No matter where you are in New York you’re always less than about a 2 hour drive away from being free of the states limitations it imposes on you. When their legislation fails the governor and the legislators will resort to blaming surrounding states for their problems. Just ask anyone from Wisconsin or Indiana about who the city of Chicago blames for all their woes. They certainly aren’t blaming themselves.

  • HG

    Liberals…. making criminals out of law abiding citizens since ever they’ve been in office.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    Gun laws are like locks on doors…they only keep honest people honest

  • 11B40


    I grew up in the Bronx of the ’50s and ’60s. Back then, the Sullivan law made it virtually impossible to get a handgun permit unless you had a cash business, were a retired cop, or were politically connected.

    In the early ’70s, New York City passed legislation to require registration of long guns.

    Persistent little devils aren’t they.

  • dakotacyr

    Tobacco usage is down considerably in this country.

    • mickey_moussaoui

      Because smokers are treated like second class citizens. If a thug attempts to rob you by gun point just tell him you are a non smoker. That should work, dopey

    • Thresherman

      And New York is missing out on millions in revenue because of bootleg cigarettes in the state. Idiots never realize that bans result in black markets.

  • two_amber_lamps
  • camsaure

    The first time socialism was tried was with the pilgrims and they almost starved, and with all the other attempts here and abroad you would think libs would get a clue. But no, sadly.

  • SigFan

    There’s an article up on Drudge today about thugs attacking and severely beating a man in NYC. They used baseball bats and tire irons. Cuomo will be introducing new legislation to ban blunt objects tomorrow. And then it will be mandatory armor plated bubbles for everyone – just to keep you safe of course.